GM Ken Holland has worked his magic and gotten Nicklas Lidstrom to sign a two-year, $7.6 million/season contract. This comes despite news that the salary cap will be raised to $44 million next season, after higher than expected profits during this past season (when the cap was $39 million). Based on the increase in cap space, Lidstrom could’ve demanded a raise to around $8.5 million to stay around the same percent salary of cap space. And with his fourth Norris Trophy win, he could’ve even entertained the prospects of a $8.8 million contract (20% of the cap for 2006-2007). Prior to the lockout, Lidstrom was pegged to make $10 million during the 2005-06 season, but the 24% rollback brought that number down to $7.6 million.
This is a honorable move by Lidstrom, who by all reports was expected to get a raise to at least $8 million/season. That extra $400,000 in cap space will allow Holland more flexibility in signing remaining prospects and regulars. And it sets the bar for Shanahan to also sign for the “hometown discount” that Holland has been talking about lately.
Frankly, I’m very surprised that Lidstrom signed for anything less than $8 million, as he had a great bargaining position with his career-high 80 point season and fourth Norris Trophy win. Holland, on the other hand, suffered another first round defeat and knew other teams would offer Lidstrom practically whatever he demanded. It shows Lidstrom’s dedication to the team that has helped him win 3 Stanley Cups.